Debuting after Google's experimental corporate terrarium and Facebook's starchitect showoff captured the attention of the design press, the new LinkedIn office inside the Empire State Building was going to have a much tougher time making a strong impression. Designed by IA, the 28th-floor space for the company's sales team fulfills the client brief seeking a "fun and vibrant" office. Chances are the snack room is on point. But the office also feels like a rerun, another in a long line of quirky, creative spaces that blend together and, with a quick logo and color swap, could function for any company courting a hipper workforce.
Staged collaborative workspaces, pool tables for play and conference rooms plastered with photos of alleys and named after "hidden" streets in New York (urban grit!) riff off the established office-as-living room concept. The speakeasy "hidden" behind a bank of rotary phones offers the requisite cool hangout without any hint of the edginess a secret drinking establishment suggests. If your boss knows the password, doesn't it lose a bit of the cool factor?